COUNTER TOP SURFACES
Granite: Granite tops the popularity charts when it comes to selecting natural stone kitchen counter tops. With a wide variety grain pattern and colors to choose from, it is one of the hardest and strongest material. Not only is it scratch resistant but can also withstand high heat. Granite is also bacteria and stain resistant which makes it a one time investment and favorable choice for those who can afford it. It can be used as polished, honed, flamed or brushed to suit several design scenarios.
Marble: Marble counter tops are also considered elegant and spectacular. Its available in a wide variety of soft hues and also some stunning black variety. Being porous it stains easily therefore used in areas that are less busy in the kitchen. however it is favored largely by bakers and is considered an ideal surface for rolling the dough. It looks warm and luxurious in most conditions whether it is honed or mirror polished.
Engineered Stone: Engineered stone is composed of 93% quartz mixed with resin and pigments to create a humongous range of colors . It has granite like properties such as being heat, scratch and chemical resistant. It is favored in modern kitchens where color can be used to create huge impact and without having to struggle with uniformity of pattern and appearance. Some brands on the market include DuPont Zodiaq®, LG Viatera®, Cambria Quartz, and Silestone®.
Soapstone: Is a smooth, dark gray colored stone used majorly as counter tops and sinks. It is heat and stain resistant but can easily scratch. With regular maintenance such as sealing and sanding the surface can be refinished. Although with age the surface color deepens, some like to apply mineral oil to deepen the color.
Concrete: Can be cast in a variety of shapes right within the kitchen. It can be personalized by embedding broken tiles, bottle caps, coins or broken beer bottles. The choices are endless. Coloring pigments and stains are added to give it the desired color. It is porous but with sealants and other high performance products, it can be sealed to be made less porous and avoid cracking. However with the customization and treatments it proves out to be a rather expensive choice.
Paper Stone: PaperStone is a solid surface material certified to FSC standards enabling a project to acquire LEED points toward certification. PaperStone is made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper along with PetroFree phenolic resins and natural pigments. PaperStone’s non-porous surface provides a lifetime of stain resistance and it absorbs virtually no water. It is extremely rigid, dense, VOC-free and heat resistant.
Stainless Steel: Stainless Steel counter tops are heat resistant and extremely durable. They can be seamless and easily customized. Though cold and noisy, they are preferred in contemporary and industrial settings such as restaurant kitchens.
Butcher Block: Wood countertops offer a beautiful warm look and are available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Hardwoods such as maple and oak are most often used as countertop woods. Pros: easy to clean; smooth; can be sanded and resealed as needed. Cons: can be damaged by water and stains over time; scratches must be oiled or sealed according to manufacturer’s instructions.